From our friends at the Metro Health Department, here are your February inspections. That's 43 passing grades and 1 failure. (Note: restaurant names are as reported by the Health Department.)
2350 Murfreesboro Road
Date Inspected: 2/11/2014
3400 Lebanon Road
Date Inspected: 2/18/2014
1200 Villa Place
Date Inspected: 2/10/2014
4662 Lebanon Road
Date Inspected: 2/4/2014
Blue Coast Burrito
6900 Lenox Village Drive
Date Inspected: 2/7/2014
He's been cutting meat since he was still tender himself at the age of 18, and he plans to share some of his insights into the restaurant business and process a whole hog for the entire class to see. He'll break it down into primal components and then further into individual cuts. The class will grind their own sausage and discuss the magic of bacon curing before going home with a bag of piggy goodies and a free T-shirt.
Tickets (if they're still available) are $200, and you can sign up at either PRB location, but full payment is required to hold your spot at the butcher block.
Porter Road Butcher
501 Gallatin Ave.
4816 Charlotte Ave.
* Matt Bolus — Chef, The 404 Kitchen. Last month, The 404 Kitchen was named a 2014 semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in America by the James Beard Foundation.
* Chris Carter & James Peisker — Co-owners, Porter Road Butcher. Listed as one of the five best artisanal butcher shops in America by Bon Appetit in 2012.
* Kristen Gregory — Executive chef, Firefly Grille. Winner, 2013-14 season premiere of Chopped.
* Hal Holden-Bache — Executive chef, Lockeland Table. Lockeland Table was named a 2013 semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in America by the James Beard Foundation.
That's a helluva group of chefs.
The rules are simple: Each chef (and his or her sous chef — the Porter Road guys won't get one since they're competing as a duo) will have one hour to prepare plates for a panel of judges based on one secret ingredient.
The event is 6 to 9:30 p.m. in the Commodore Ballroom at Vanderbilt University, and tickets are on sale now. The event has sold out in the past, so if you want to see the chefs compete, eat some great food and drinks and hang out with fellow food lovers, get them soon.
City Fire American Oven and Bar quietly launched on Monday. Henry Hillenmeyer, the man behind the two previous restaurants in the space (Urban Flats and Music City Flats) is still the owner, but he brought in a new general manager, Nathan Shryock, who says the team has created a completely different concept.
"The menu is 100 percent different," Shryock says. So is the restaurant's interior. "We spent six months totally renovating it," he says, bringing in warmer details like walnut tables.
A touchstone in the decor is the era of the early 1900s, yielding "an eclectic mix of old and new" that reflects "the growth of American culture," the GM says. "You'll see a modern POS system sitting on an antique hutch."
The menu delivers "good American comfort food," made from scratch, Shryock says, with some items fired in the restaurant's stone oven.
Austin Reese from Corsair will be on hand for the event, serving up tastings of Corsair’s Vanilla Bean Vodka, a Gin & Tonic, the "Ryemageddon" Manhattan and their Triple Smoke Whiskey. As with the wine tastings, it’s just $15 per person, including heavy hors d'oeuvres. I can’t think of another place where you can get four drinks plus food for just $15. And the Corsair spirits are wonderful. If you haven’t had a chance to try them out, this is the perfect opportunity. The Corsair tasting at the Cool Springs location will be this Tuesday, March 11, from 6 until 8 p.m.; the tasting at the Nashville location on West End will be Wednesday, March 12, at the same time.
Also, you can check out the information on the Amerigo Chef Dinners.
But his tequila is still pretty darned tasty, and Cantina Laredo in the Gulch has selected Cabo Wabo as the featured product at their quarterly tequila dinner this Thursday, March 6. The dinner will include a four-course meal with tequila cocktail pairings for each course. These popular events start with cocktails at 7 p.m., with dinner in the restaurant's private dining room kicking off at 7:30. A representative from Cabo Wabo will be present to talk with attendees.
The four-course menu includes:
Capitol Grille's Tyler Brown earned one of the prime spots as guest chef at Friday Night's McCrady’s Family Style Southern Supper, where he'll be cooking with Steven Satterfield from Miller Union in Atlanta. Brown will be serving beef he has helped to raise at Double H Farms, so Middle Tennessee will be doubly featured there.
Chef Charles Phillips from 1808 Grille will be participating in an event with the tongue-twister name of "Rewined Candles + The Local Palate Magazine Presents Passport to Pairings." Wineries will pour a red and white wine and will be paired with a chef who will artfully prepare a dish for each wine at the Gov. Thomas Bennett House in what should prove to be a great afternoon of eating and drinking on Friday afternoon. Conveniently, the event will be just a few blocks away from the cheap hotel I'll be staying in on the west side of town, which is to say, not very close to the main events on Marion Square.
Husk's Lisa Donovan will be contributing her cheery disposition and delicious pastries to the proceedings, providing that the cooler full of treats that I volunteered to schelp from Nashville to Charlestown in the back seat of my car arrives intact and uneaten. I'd put the odds at 50/50.
Finally, Andy Little of Josephine will be cooking at a popular underground event that travels around food festivals, called Lambs and Clams. Craig Rogers of Border Springs Farm and Travis Croxton of Rappahannock River Oysters provide the proteins, and a cadre of chefs prepare fun tastings of delicious surf 'n' turf at this party, which is usually publicized by word of mouth.
It's not too late to buy tickets for some of the events, and any weekend in Charleston is worth the trip for serious food fans.
Attendees will not only get to support the school with their ticket purchase, but also be able to taste some of the food prepared by students; the program will be one of the many food vendors set up to provide a good base for all the adult beverages. Other notable participants include Red Pony, The Pharmacy, Provence, Jimmy Kelly’s, Ruth’s Chris, Sunset Grill, Corner Market, Puckett’s, Grays on Main, Fido, Etch, City House, Urban Grub and Germantown Café, among others. Bonnie Blue Farm, Nola Granola, The Nashville Jam Company, MistaDale’s Speciality Foods, Oma’s Sweets, Wild and Local Foods, and Olive and Sinclair are all also scheduled to provide tastings. See a more comprehensive list of participants on the event’s website.
Last year’s event drew a big crowd, but lines were blessedly civil, and few vendors ran out of bites even at the end of the festivities. I suspect the copious amounts of wines, whiskeys and other drinks kept a lot of folks jolly and happy. My recommendation to get the most out of the event, is to buy an extra ticket for a designated driver or take a taxi, Uber or Lyft ride. And maybe take Friday off work.
Tickets are just $50 per person if you purchase them now ($60 at the door) and include all the bites and drinks you can handle. All proceeds from the event support the Randy Rayburn School of Culinary Arts as well as the Nashville State Foundation which helps to provide the necessary education to staff Nashville’s fantastic restaurants.
One lucky Bites reader (and a friend), however, will get to go for free. Just leave a comment (one per person) with the name of the participating vendor you’re most excited to sample. I’ll choose a number at random Monday morning at 10 a.m., and the corresponding commenter will win. Check back later in the day to see if you’ve won the pair of tickets and I’ll get your contact information (via email) and forward it to the event organizers.
Thursday, March 13
5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Randy Rayburn School of Culinary Arts at Nashville State Community College
120 White Bridge Road
Buy tickets online for $50 in advance or $60 at the door on the day of the event
These popular events were too good to keep to themselves, so the owners of Gray's have decided to expand enrollment to the rest of us, starting with classes on March 6 and 13. Mixologist Jon Yeager will lead the classes which will emphasize the French beverage program that he has established at the bar. Here's the syllabus:
On March 6, participants will learn about and taste Marquis de Montesquiou Armagnac — a brand that’s featured in only one other spot in the country. Interested individuals will gain an in-depth look at the particular distilling process, the brand’s history and its different expressions. Guests will also taste the brand in context with GRAY’S popular Fox Hollow cocktail, and through other handmade recipes. Though Yeager will host the evening, Ryan Kohl of ImpEx Beverages Inc., will spearhead the event.
On March 13, Yeager will provide extensive samplings of various French and Italian wines, and guests will learn about each brand’s particular process and history from an Athens distributor and expert.
To reserve your spot for either or both seminars, call Gray's at (615) 435-3603. To receive a sneak-peek of GRAY’S bar program, watch the restaurant’s online cocktail tutorial series at youtube.com/GRAYSonMain.
Gray's on Main
332 Main St.,
Franklin, Tennessee 37064
Algood offers helpful tips and tricks for getting the most out of your slow cooker, including instructions for converting your favorite oven or stovetop recipes for the slow cooker. But her best advice may be to own more than one slow cooker (I own two myself). Recipes range from standard roasts, stews and other traditional slow-cooker recipes to breakfasts, breads and even cakes. There are 365 Southern-style recipes in this very comprehensive book.
Here’s a recipe from the book for Pepper-Speckled Polenta that’s good for a weekend or if you have a programmable slow cooker (side note: It’s really difficult for me not to write “Crock Pot”):
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If y'all are short of judges, I hereby selflessly volunteer my services.